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Mara Capy

Mara Capy is to the left of Gail Herman, see memories in written and video form below

Obituary – unable to find one online

Cap’s Off to You Blog Post – posted February 16, 2022

Do you have memories of Mara? Please email to

Favorite Memory:

Being in her storytelling workshops and storytelling performances. Mara would allow the audience to participate with a process she adapted from a West African tradition.

Mara’s mantra in life:

“For sure you are right.”

What place(s) did you know Mara?:

At Univ. of Massachusetts in the early 70’s. Also in Vermont and Connecticut storytelling sites. Mara stayed at our home in CT on Bungee Lake and met a man she married there.

Dr. Mara Capy’s work at The University of Massachusetts, Antioch College and Lesley University in the 1970’s and 80’s inspired me to create “Organic Storytelling”.  I augmented her technique, which she found noted by an ethnographer from Western Africa.  In my adaptation, the “Organic Storytelling” method  uses “Organic Interventions” to encourage audience members to use their mind’s eye and to include their creative ideas within the structure of the story when I invite them.  At various times during the story, usually during a journey or when a problem is being solved, I ask, “What do you see?” or “What do you think [the character] did?” or “What did they hear?” Students’ responses are validated and incorporated into the folktale as I extend the responses by narrating more details.  Students watch as the storyteller creates on the spot from their spoken images.  They often say to their friends, “See, I’m right!”  Confidence appears to ooze from every pour.  

Mara M Capy wrote “A storytelling process that confirms the self”. in the Am Journal of Dance Therapy in 1973.

“Organic Storytelling” ™ is a method of storytelling, which encourages and invites children’s imagination and creative contributions.  Linguistically talented and twice exceptional students have been happily challenged and enjoy the creative thinking engendered by the method.  Students echo vocal appreciations used and thereby receive teachers’ and students’ validations.

–details shared by Gail Herman, colleague, friend, & mentor/mentee relationship